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X Rebirth

By Mokman13-02-2014
CrimsonE (editor)
Azeebo (editor)
X Rebirth

The Defence

Deep Silver
Action, Simulator
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Core i7 2.5 GHz
AMD equivalent
Nvidia GeForce GT 560
AMD Radeon HD 5870
8 GB
12 GB

The Case

The X series may not be as well-known as the massive engine that is EVE Online or science fiction epics like Mass Effect, but it certainly does hold its own. Commonly described as a single-player EVE Online mixed with Freelancer it allows for a combination of the frantic dog-fighting found in Freelancer; the vast universe in EVE Online and the wonderful RPG elements that come from taking contracts, building your ships and traversing about the galaxy. X Rebirth was received with much anticipation. This soon turned into stomach-churning disappointment as Egosoft realised they had released a buggy, futile mess. Still, taking into account the pedigree of the game, we decided to give it one more chance after few months of patching before we delivered our verdict. In a clichéd movie this would be where a turnaround occurs and a month of frantic work is enough to turn the whole thing into a gloriously good game. Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way.

The Trial

The graphics and visuals do hint at the possibility of it having been a genuinely amazing game. With absolutely startling visuals and myriad vistas bursting with colors, all pouring into the painstakingly crafted UI view screen that is designed to make players feel like they are sitting inside their ship's cockpit. The ambitions of the game are put right out there for all to see, and it incites a hope that, unfortunately, is almost immediately dashed the moment you open any in-game menu.

This is a highway. In space!

This is a highway. In space!

The gameplay then marks the greatest failing of X Rebirth, starting with the most heinous culprit, the UI. While it’s understandable that the designers may have been trying to fully immerse the players within the game, this is where it gets ridiculous: at least six keystrokes are required to reach the map, with lag between each screen occurring as the badly-optimized game engine attempts to pull up another piece of useless information. Inside that useless information hidden between countless sub-headings, lies your mission objective, coordinates and other useful information. Furthermore, the decision to place the entire menu UI as an in-game holographic display, while interesting in theory, falls short of what is convenient or even tolerable. Even after patching, only minor speed-up was enacted, leaving the rest of the UI as cumbersome and annoying as always.

Not that improved UI would have helped much, considering the jaw-droppingly asinine levels of micromanagement that is required to even play the basic economic game: waiting for hours on end as your trade ship slowly tags along behind you, trading at a snail's pace while you are given arbitrary missions to do. Friendly ships that you can add to your fleet are interesting to bring along for the ride, were their AI's scripted to showcase any intelligence whatsoever. As it is, they were more hindrance than help, getting in front of my lasers and then subsequently getting themselves killed.

What's worse, one of the greatest aspects of the X series, its customization, has been horribly streamlined and stripped away. Your original ship, the Albion Skunk, is the only ship you own and are allowed to upgrade. Even cosmetic changes are non-existent, instead resulting only in upgraded weaponry, shields and engines. While the ships themselves are visually appealing, the fact that you may never pilot more than the one you already have fills me with rage and disappointment.

Seeing the interior of your ship is cool...the first few times.

Seeing the interior of your ship is cool...the first few times.

The quest-line is utterly confusing. Badly explained events, missing any serious exposition, are jumbled in with a clichéd plot about evil corporations and rebels. These are mixed in with absolutely terrible voice acting to introduce a horrible package that they have labeled as their plot. At the start of the game, you are barely given any explanation or background as to your character, before you are thrown into a similarly badly explained setting, with absolutely absurd motivations - at no point am I given a reason not to simply jettison my rescued passenger and go about exploring the universe.

Other NPCs wander about aimlessly or stand still within sparse space stations that give the promise of a wandering RPG element but only deliver stock boring lines and visually unattractive looks. They aren't even unique, utilizing a dozen or so stock models for the entire galaxy. Even the NPC that tags along with the main quest is annoying and badly voice acted. I soon found myself muting the game just so I didn't have to listen to any of the terrible lines.

The game also suffers from lackluster pacing. Frantic bouts of confusing action are interspersed with long, boring periods of inactivity. With no fast forward button and a moronic limit on the spaceship's throttle, players are relegated to staring at the screen for minutes on end, watching the stars crawl by at a mind-numbing pace as they attempt to get from one location to another.

I think she knows what I’m thinking about this game.

I think she knows what I’m thinking about this game.

Attempts to deepen the shallow nature of the game fall flat. An arcane global economy clearly doesn't work at all, while treasure hunting is a frustrating and ultimately unrewarding chore that is best avoided entirely. Navigating around starbases quickly becomes routine. Attempting to accept side quests without smashing your ship into the station, all the while juggling the horrid UI used to interact with anything within the world is a challenge in patience. Crashes are constant, unresponsive characters litter the world and nothing does what it's supposed to do, especially the goddamned trading ships.

The Verdict

Ultimately then, I would like to say that X Rebirth tried to be ambitious, but failed miserably. Unfortunately, it doesn't even deserve that little inkling of credit. It suffers from a plethora of badly-designed ideas, and was released way before it was ready with what seems to be minimal testing. Egosoft clearly skimped on the English voice-acting, whilst utterly betraying what made the X series great. Give this one a pass, unless you want your love for space-based games to be forever tainted.

Case Review

  • Good Visuals: The one untarnished factor.
  • Vibrant Color Palette: Can be either a refreshing departure from the drabness of modern gaming or just plain annoying.
  • Horrible UI: Worst UI design decision I have seen in gaming so far.
  • Shallow: It seems as if there is a whole universe of options to explore - that’s a lie.
  • Terrible Voice-Acting: Not even adorably bad. Just bad.
  • Buggy as Hell: Clearly not play-tested to any worthwhile degree.
Score: 1.5/5
X Rebirth is not worth your time or your patience.


Welcome to the grim, dark future. The grim, dark future in which access to advanced space-faring technology means that slipstreaming traffic works in a vacuum. Wireless technology means that you have to fly right up and point your nose at something to scan it. Where every single person looks like they’ve been body snatched, and you’re really talking to some strange creature that is trying to imitate human conversation while living inside an ugly human mannequin...this could go on.

X Rebirth is a terrible, terrible mess. The graphics could look great; however, you can’t turn them up high enough to look great unless you take all of Earth’s computers and make them into a tower of hyper-processing. Trading seems to be great but you can’t do it because traders will refuse to deliver what you have bought from them, meaning that the story missions which require you to trade will never be completed. And if you believe in tooltips, just fly in and out of the zone repeatedly, then go into your crew quarters and come back out. Each time sitting for five minutes to make sure that the voice telling you the trader is docking with your ship is still lying to you.

X Rebirth is definitely one of the most infuriating games you will ever play. It fails terribly in almost everything it does, and no amount of overlooking certain bugs or bad voice acting can ever make it into a good game. There are great games that contain glitches or bugs that you will overlook because you can see and feel the greatness underneath; you know that after a few months of patching, its true glory will be revealed. X Rebirth is not like that. Patching and updating will never make it into anything more than almost playable. There is no patch that can fix bad, awful, unholy, terrible, gruesome, stomach-churning design decisions. The only real fix is for X Rebirth to be removed from circulation and refunds to be given to everyone who was conned into buying a copy. Stay away from this game at all costs. Someone should be in court.

Score: 1/5


What was initially thought to be an ambitious project fallen victim to pressures from impatient publishers has now gotten a few months to fix itself up, iron out the problems and fulfill its potential. Well, time is up. X Rebirth’s potential is fulfilled, and it has reached its end goal: being a complete clusterfuck that should never have seen commercial release in the first place.

I mean, where do I even begin? Months after release, nothing has changed. Nothing’s been improved. NOTHING. Beyond the horrendous performance issues, the cringeworthy voicework, the ridiculous character models, the abysmal tutorial, the quest-breaking bugs, the cluttered UI, the shoddy controls, the headache inducing on-foot camera movement, the mundane ship combat and just about everything else that could possibly go wrong, it’s simply boring. It barely ever attempts to motivate you to go on. It’s so dull, you’ll find yourself looking forward to hitting the Exit button only to realise the game crashes on you, forcing you to close it through the task manager just to ensure that the final nail is securely impaled into the coffin.

The fact that X Rebirth has a soundtrack and a visual style that, when working together, perfectly capture the feeling of being a starship captain in a believable universe, free to roam the outer reaches of space at will, helps little in the grand scheme when everything else comes crashing down on top of it. Credit belongs where credit is due: X Rebirth truly shows a glint of ambition here and there. It’s at times a truly beautiful audiovisual spectacle. But you might as well Google up some photos and CGI-art of space instead, because with the performance issues you’ll be facing this can barely be called a game. It’s a slideshow. Wherever there’s ambition to be found within this dense universe, there are a million counterintuitive design choices that hinder you from enjoying the game or, worse yet, sometimes even continuing the game at all.

Score: 2/5
Comments (12)
You must be to post a comment.
Posts: 1317

Xidio's logic:

We give a game a high score: OMG WE SUCK AND ARE KISSING DEVELOPER ASS!


Posts: 1317

Can never get enough wah wah.

Posts: 12

As someone who has played all of the X series games, and created several mods for x3 reunion (my personal favourite) This was a major disappointment, i cant believe someone gave the go ahead for this to be released in its current state.

Posts: 341

But then again this is Pixeljudge.

Battlefield 4, Rome 2 and Arma 3 are considered near-perfect games with near-perfect scores (in some cases PERFECT scores)

Yet Battlefield 4 is still Beta.
Rome 2 is still awful.
Arma 3 is still garbage and runs like shit.

Posts: 341

Told you its nothing like X3.

Posts: 166

Rather disappointed that this game did not meet up to the expectations.

Posts: 1548

I think they wanted to reach a wider audience and in sacrificing the games strengths the developers didnt really craft a or polish the game what they imagined it to be due to time or budget limitations (or both).

Posts: 228

Hwo did they manage to surprise sex the pooch so much? I mean, it's not their first game and they still had time before Elite and Star Citizen... seriously, what the hell!

Posts: 1548

That's a shame. Had a lot of home for Rebirth to be good.

Posts: 1317

Yeah, Same with Garry's Incident. Except that one didn't look very good pre-release either. Hue hue.